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March 2006, Week 2 Marketing Archives

Friday, March 10, 2006

Entrepreneur Rock Star

Just so you know, I'm an entrepreneurial rock star in the making. Hungry, stubborn and broke (not completely but I'm not self-suffecient). But that doesn't mean I'm not willing to buy my wife some bling. Watchout peeples! I learned from the best.

Update 2-14-2007:
I still can't believe I ever put this post up... I'm more like an idiot than a rock star, just ask my wife.

Entrepreneur Rock Star By Jason Dowdell at 06:12 PM
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Silicon Valley UI Designer Needed

My homies over at Insider Pages are looking for a smart, hard-working, generally decent person (KICK ASS - and yes I'm the only person allowed to curse on mshift, this is my baby!) who can code beautiful web pages and is knowledgable (translated: a UI master) about hooking them into complex backend systems.

For those of you that don't know, IP is a fast-growing local search company utilizing customer reviews and social networking to help people find a great dentist, hairstylist, realtor and more.

They're backed by Sequoia Capital (they ain't playin), Softbank Capital and Idealab (think Labitat plus $4 Billion in VC).

So if you're hungry, looking for work, and are an incredibly talented UI/Middle-Tier person then you need to apply now.

Silicon Valley UI Designer Needed By Jason Dowdell at 05:58 PM
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Caution: Feed Ads With Care

I recently chatted with Brent Hill, VP of business development at FeedBurner about optmizing RSS advertisements. To get the best performance, ads should be placed within the text of an RSS entry, and not individuals items, he said. One ad should be listed for every two to three pieces of content, and surprisingly RSS text ads perform better than graphic ads.

FeedBurner recently signed a deal with tech publisher IDG to produce ads for feeds for its PC World, Computerworld, and Macworld properties. Buzzmachine and Adrants are also clients of FeedBurner.

Keeping track of how many people have subscribed to your feeds is a hassle, but FeedBurner has some basic free services for managing feeds, as well as some handy widgets for displaying feeds, such as Headline Animator and BuzzBoost.

I haven't seen any tools for publishers to be able to consolidate multiple feeds into a single feed to simplify the subscription process. For example, a publisher such as could Wired News could enable readers to choose which of its feeds to receive, and then send them out a single feed of their preferred content. Someday.

Caution: Feed Ads With Care By John Gartner at 05:52 PM
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Google Buys Web-Based Word Processing Software

Google has purchased the aptly-named Silicon Valley startup Upstartle. Upstartle is best known for it's web-based word processing software,
Writely
, which allows users to create documents online and share them with others.

The move puts Google in direct competition with Word software from Microsoft and signals the intention of Google to expand its reach into Microsoft products.

According to Bloomberg, while Microsoft is already testing small-business software that is delivered over the Internet, the company is not offering word processing software that is delivered using the Web.

While terms of the deal were not disclosed, it is my belief the four employees of Upstartle will be moving to a higher tax bracket in the near future.

Google Buys Web-Based Word Processing Software By Jason Dowdell at 01:53 PM
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Marketers Need Game Face

Online gaming revenue is expected to more than triple by 2011, according to DFC Intelligence.

This is great news for marketers since you have a desirable demographic (under 35) who spend hours interacting connected through their PCs, which dominate the category. Subscription services are expected to dominate the category, but if done right, advertising revenues could provide nearly half of the revenue.

Product placement within the games as well as interactive advertising on the online services themselves can deliver a barrage of alcohol, car, and food ads. (I'd probably forget the clothes aspect since online gamers aren't known for following fashion trends.)

Another thought -- will there be a MySpace for gamers coming from Sony or EA?

Marketers Need Game Face By Jason Dowdell at 12:16 PM
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Hilton Launches Dozens Of Microsites

This is generally not the kind of Hilton-related info you get on the net. I do think there is a way to marry some of Paris' online-exploits to a multi-national online marketing campaign. Hilton execs...give me a call. We'll talk.

As part of a continued effort get more of its customers booking online Hilton has launched dozens of microsites designed for specific audiences.

Bala Subramanian, senior VP of distribution and brand integration for Hilton Hotels noted,"We have reached the point where about 15 percent of bookings are coming through our Web sites and we're getting loyal HHonors [loyalty program] customers, who are the easy group to influence to book online...Going forward to continue to grow Web site and online penetration, we have to clearly recognize that the market is not all the same size and shape."

The micosite inroduction comes on the heels of Hilton's launch of several new online tools at the end of 2005. One lets loyalty group members check in online, another lets small group meeting planners book online, while another allows group meeting planners to view and manage guest lists.

No word yet on Paris' role in the roll-out. I will keep you all posted.

Hilton Launches Dozens Of Microsites By Jason Dowdell at 10:59 AM
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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Flacks Blog to Counter News

If you don't like the way your client was covered in the media, take it to 'em online, says P.R. guru Richard W. Edelman.

At a recent flack-fest, Edelman said the lack of faith in journalism is an opportunity for PR to "set the record straight" with readers.

"P.R.," he said, "plays much better in a world that lacks trust."

I understand why you might want to post online if you feel you were treated unfairly by the media, but being overzealous in your defense can come off as desperation. It is a boon for marketers to be able to directly respond to bad press, but I'm not sold that readers who already have doubt in their mind will be more inclined to believe an obviously biased source than those whose function is to seek the truth. It is beneficial to correct errors of fact, but flacks should be vewy vewy careful when taking on the press, because the sparring could escalate.

Flacks Blog to Counter News By John Gartner at 01:17 PM
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Google Takes Licking From Bogus Clicking

Google agreed to pay up to $90 million to settle a class action case from advertisers who say that fraudulent clicks cost them big bucks. Of course in the time it took to read that last sentence, Google has already made that money back.

Yahoo is still fighting the class action suit, according to eWeek.

Perhaps the search engines will now be more diligent in trying to combat the clickbots and other nefarious agents. The writing is on the wall for most applications of the pay-per-click model. Onless you are only looking for brand awareness, it's hard to justify paying out when you have little guarantee that the clicks are genuine.

Google Takes Licking From Bogus Clicking By Jason Dowdell at 12:44 PM
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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Eric Schmidt Analyst Day PowerPoint Golden Ticket


Eric Schmidt Says Your Personal Data is Googles Golden Ticke

So Ev sent me a link that Thomas sent him about the presentation Eric Schmidt gave market analysts during the March 2nd 2006 Google Analyst Day presentation.

Derrick (someone I don't know) did a great job of summarizing the powerpoint presentation but if you want to wade through the entire Google power point presentation then I've made it available for download here.

I didn't bother going through the entire presentation but I did see a few things I found alarming and was just plain shocked that Eric Schmidt even spoke about them in his presentation. I'm beginning to get the heebie jeebies, Microsoft has nothing to fear now that Google's really taking over the evil empire and is publicly announcing their plans for world dominance (via data of course).

Here are some of the quotes that just blew me (jason) away.
As we move toward the "Store 100%" reality, the online copy of your data will become your Golden Copy and your local-machine copy serves more like a cache. An important implication of this theme is that we can make your online copy more secure than it would be on your own machine.
You've got to be kidding me right? Make my pc a cache and Google the real hard drive, um, no. And it's going to be more secure than my machine? Again I say NO!
Another important implication of this theme is that storing 100% of a user's data makes each piece of data more valuable because it can be access across applications. For example: a user's Orkut profile has more value when it's accessible from Gmail (as addressbook), Lighthouse (as access list), etc.
No, it becomes more valuable to Google, not to me. I haven't used Orkut since they launched it and never plan on using it again. I don't want you storing all my information, that's what I have a computer for. I'm a big fan of one-to-one marketing but I'm not interested in saving time while Google gets rich on my data (as I type this I have google desktop running, time to abort!!!)
This foundation and framework will enable Google to set new standards for innovation and comprehensiveness. We plan to:
Get all the worlds information, not just some
Now that's a scarey thought.

Slide 18 discusses the Seven Themes
I'm having flashbacks of the movie Seven with Morgan Freeman. Will Google play the starring role in Seven II?

Now this next piece is interesting to me. First Schmidt talks about working on advancing their user interface and then he discusses building apps that capture places where people spend an inordinate amount of time like email. I thought Google's purpose was to make it easy to find information quickly instead of keeping you locked in for hours on end? Is that why my Google Snippets on top of GMail are becoming more and more commercial? doh!
Its clear to us that we are just at the beginning of meeting our mission of Organizing the worlds information and making it universally accessible and useful...
...Gmail – reinventing email management; email is where consumers spend an inordinate proportion of overall time online
Alright that's enough slamming for now. Be afraid of Google, be very afraid!

Eric Schmidt Analyst Day PowerPoint Golden Ticket By Jason Dowdell at 06:19 PM
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Music Biz Needs to Fix Pricing

So the Attorney General is investigating price fixing in the online music industry.

Well, something needs to be done, because the model today hurts consumers and the industry. To charge the same price for a chart topping track from Mariah Carey or Toby Keith as for Pat Boone's 1997 cover of Crazy Train is just crazy.

The 99 cents-for-all model goes against supply and demand. Download sites like iTunes should harge more for current hits ($1.49) and less (49 cents) for oldies. I bet online sales would grow exponentially if you could buy old stuff in bulk, like 10 tracks for $5. Another absurdity is that sometimes if an album contains fewer longer tracks, (such as with Pink Floyd albums), it costs more to buy the album than it does to buy the songs one at a time.

Music sellers need to follow the movie model- you pay more ($9) to see a flick when it first comes out than you do 6 months later on pay-per-view ($5), and even less to own/rent it after a few years.

I bet if Alberto just invited music execs for a "meeting" to discuss this at Guantanamo that we'd instantly have a new pricing model.

Music Biz Needs to Fix Pricing By John Gartner at 01:02 PM
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Balancing Web 2.0 With the Desktop

Gibu Thomas of Sharpcast has some dead-on analysis about how applications need to scale to be device appropriate and the importance of transparent file management.

Thomas gives perspective that we shouldn't overplay the importance of Web 2.0 applications. Desktop applications will never die, they will just stay on our PCs, while web-based versions will be used when we need to access our applications from a public PC, or from a media player or mobile phone. Sometimes web mail or Excel-lite is all you need, but when you have a powerful PC and lots of storage at your disposal, you may want more.

Thomas is putting that principal to work with Sharpcast Photos, which organizes and synchronizes your photos so that they are available from any device. The service eliminates the need to upload files or resize photos for mobile devices. The "anywhere anytime" concept of access to information, may not be new, but it has yet to be realized in a way that is easy for users.

Sharpcast now has an invitation-only beta of its photo service, and the company just received $13.5 million in Series B funding from some impressive VCs.

Here's another prescient point from Thomas

These days, because we use so much digital information, there is general consensus that the meta-data we use to navigate the information is almost as important as the underlying information itself; for example, having access to a structured set of playlists in iTunes is far more valuable than having access to an unordered list of mp3 files.

It's not just what data we have, but the context of what it means to us, and when and how we need access.

Balancing Web 2.0 With the Desktop By John Gartner at 11:58 AM
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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Live.com Gets a Facelift

Just after midnight Live.com will get a much needed face-lift and also a little botox. Microsoft plans to inject some life into this beast by adding a world of functionality. Some of the features you can expect to see are:

- A solid search function, which even lets your search within search results
- Tabbed pages inside the site, allowing you to have different pages for all your RSS categories...if you wanted
- Scrolling while minimized. Stock and weather functions will scroll if you have them minimized.
- A completely redesigned UI that will "make using Live a lot easier and more fun."

These are only a few of the features I was made aware of so I'm sure there will be lots more. The best feature by far, and it brings a tear to my eye when I tell you; Live.com will now support Firefox. *GASP* That is right boys and girls a Microsoft products that supports Firefox! [tears of joy] I'm so proud! [/tears of joy]

Be sure to check it out and let me know what you think.

Live.com Gets a Facelift By Evan Roberts at 11:33 PM
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Roll Your Own Advertising

Instead of relying on AdSense to guess which ads will be effective to run with your content, ecommerce CafePress lets you use tags to identify the types of ads you want.

This does give publishers more freedom, but it requires more work as you have to manually update your tags when you publish new content, according to Adotas.

I can imagine that there will be lots of competition for the ads with recognized ROI (porn? movie rentals?). It's an interesting idea, but automating the process by enabling publishers to check off the types of ads to run across their site would be much more efficient. Playing tag was more fun when I was seven.

Roll Your Own Advertising By John Gartner at 08:07 PM
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Search Tool Looks Ahead

A new search utility "pre-searches" for what you are interested in by reading what you are reading. The free "Pico" download from Video search engine company Blinkx looks at the words onscreen in any application and automatically generates matching search results. Pico is a mini-toolbar that lights up when it finds matching content from blogs, video the web, Wikipedia or news sites. Blinkx founder Suranga Chandratillake says that by always having search results available, people will search more often. 'We are trying to unshackle users from search as destination... It almost makes search invisible," according to Chandratillake. Blinkx generates revenue from ads search results pages generated by partner Miva. Chandratillake says the company protects privacy because its over-the-shoulder watching is session based, so each time you switch applications, the data is deleted. All of the data that is temporarily stored on the company's servers is encrypted, and users can turn off the tool whenever they don't want Pico to tag along. Having an omnipresent search tool may save you a few keystrokes when you need/want to search, but if the results are good, it may also be a distraction to always have related content at your disposal. Blinkx, which has largely been flying under the radar, has deals with all three TV networks and several other publishers to make content accessible through its video search engine. I bet Google is starting to pay attention now.

Search Tool Looks Ahead By John Gartner at 11:41 AM
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Monday, March 06, 2006

GDrive speculation heats up

Word on the street is that Google may be introducing a so-called Google Drive, or GDrive, allowing all those willing to have their information scanned by Google to use the service as a virtual external hard drive for storage and retrieval.

From Greg Linden

The Slideshow from Google's recent analyst day mentioned Lighthouse and GDrive in the notes to slide 19:

With infinite storage, we can house all user files, including: emails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc).

We already have efforts in this direction in terms of GDrive, GDS [Google Desktop Search], Lighthouse, but all of them face bandwidth and storage constraints today.

Another important implication of this theme is that storing 100% of a user's data makes each piece of data more valuable because it can be access across applications. For example: a user's Orkut profile has more value when it's accessible from Gmail (as addressbook), Lighthouse (as access list), etc.

Seems like too much evidence to simply dismiss as interweb rumors...

GDrive speculation heats up By Jason Dowdell at 05:16 PM
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MediaNet: U.S. Teens are Squares

I find the recent revelation that American teens are more conservative than the rest of the world to be suspect at best.

As a frequent watcher of MTV and various other teen-themed media outlets, i was under the impression that today's youth did little more than sport lowrider jeans con thongs, pick up old men in online chat rooms and play sex games at co-ed slumber parties.

Like Jerry Orbach in Dirty Dancing, when i'm wrong, i say i'm wrong. In this case, while MediaNet brings up some interesting figures, there is no way American kids are a bunch of Puritans compared to other nation's teens. I mean, have you seen Laguna Beach?

According to the GenWorld Teen study from Energy BBDO, not all teens fit this pattern. In fact,an interesting "Blue Teen/Red Teen" phenomenon seems to be occurring: About half of U.S. teens qualify as Red Teens with strong conservative views, while the remaining half, Blue Teens, emphasize individuality and tend to reject tradition.

What this means is; non-traditional teens (Blue) tend to gravitate towards innovators such as Sony, Amazon, Apple, Ebay, Yahoo and AOL, while Red Teens stick to more wholesome, tried-and-true brands such as Gap, Kellogs, Kraft, Nestle, Disney, and Doublemint.

If this study is "spot on" (and i strongly suspect it isn't) this could lead to a backlash of sorts against the scantily-clad youngsters adorning our TV and computer screens. That would truly be a national tragedy

MediaNet: U.S. Teens are Squares By Brent Brandow at 04:37 PM
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Takeovers Dilute Branding

San Francisco is home to the baseball Giants, who play their home games at (Insert Name Here) Park. The ballpark has had more name changes than Prince, which dilutes the value of the brand and irritates the heck out of fans.

The Giants sold the naming rights to their stadium to Pacific Bell in 2000, which three years later became SBC Park when that company bought Pacific Bell, and this year it will become AT&T Park, as SBC bought that company but assumed its identity.

Today we have the news that AT&T is buying BellSouth. So we'll assume for now that the national company won't change the San Francisco Park name, but what will it do with BellSouth Park, the home of the Chattanooga Lookouts?

I've had it with these corporate-franchise marriages lasting as long as your average Hollywood affair (remember poor Enron Field?). Ballparks, stop selling out to dot-coms or telecoms that are likely to fold or be sold within two years.

Takeovers Dilute Branding By John Gartner at 11:25 AM
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Back to the Future of the Web

It's looking like 1995 all over again. The web is going to breath new life into the economy as investors start throwing money at online properties and emerging technologies enhance ecommerce.

Back then it was Java, the browser wars, Flash, and dynamic HTML that put the (inter)face on the internet. While last time around any i- e-company was sure to attract millions in VC, this time investors will be more fastidious in assessing where to direct their moola (although I'm not so sure that NBC didn't overpay for iVillage).

This time it will be Ajax, mashups, RSS and other Web 2.0 technologies that give the new web its identity. The first web wave gave us the retail web and electronic transactions; now the local web will be the focus, along with the media web, as broadcast and print companies take advantage of new technologies to shore up sagging revenues and maybe even grow.

Back to the Future of the Web By John Gartner at 11:03 AM
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« March 2006 Week 1 March 2006 Week 3 »

  • Week 1 (12 entries) March 1-4
  • Week 2 (18 entries) March 5-11
  • Week 3 (21 entries) March 12-18
  • Week 4 (23 entries) March 19-25
  • Week 5 (17 entries) March 26-31

Google Takes Licking From Bogus Clicking
This mishap has caused a great deal of losses to o...
by cedric d. willis
Eric Schmidt Analyst Day PowerPoint Golden Ticket
Mr. Schmidt owes his success largely to a global n...
by kael1

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